NEW YORK, May 26, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — It is perhaps not popularly known that the father of the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic priest named Georges Lemaître, or that an Ohio nun named Sister Ignatia Gavin developed the first hospital treatment center for alcohol and substance abuse, but Catholics have a habit of innovation, except (perhaps ironically) in the field of evangelization, where they often seem downright bashful when compared to your average smoothie enthusiast. One Catholic organization, however, is ready to change that perception. Aleteia, the global Catholic website that launched PopeEmoji during Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to the United States, has launched an evangelizing chatbot, and he’s got quite the personality.
“All Christians are called to share our faith, but it’s not easy for most,” said Jesus Colina, Global Editor at Aleteia.org. “Unless you are able to offer something that you know will be welcome, evangelization can quickly become uncomfortable and leave people feeling intruded upon, instead of inspired.”
Aleteia’s solution to this challenge is an intelligence software agent that recommends articles and stories based on need. Accessing Aleteia.org’s 5-years-deep archive of content, the chatbot — nicknamed ePaul after the evangelizing apostle — asks a few questions about the person and situation one is trying to address, and then suggests articles that it thinks will be relevant and helpful.
ePaul, who responds to users with a conversational and understanding voice, lives on Aleteia.org and within Facebook Messenger and draws from a curated database of shareable content. “He’s lively,” says Colina, “but he has a serious job: to help people find a way to say ‘I am aware, I care, and so does God.'”
Commissioned by Aleteia.org in an effort to support the Roman Catholic Church’s World Communications Day Sunday, May 28th, the chat bot was designed to answer Pope Francis’ call to communicate hope and trust in our time.
“As far as we know, ePaul is the world’s first evangelizing chatbot, ” said Jason Deal, Aleteia’s EVP of Strategy and Marketing. “We hope it is a fun and easy way to share stories of hope, trust, love and faith with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances.”
For more information, please visit the ePaul web page (http://aleteia.org/ePaul) or search for AleteiaEN on Facebook.